By Craig Day, The News On 6
WHITEFIELD, OK -- After vandals caused more than $300,000 in damage, Whitefield school leaders are scrambling to clean up before the start of school August 12th.
The school got a helping hand, in fact, a lot of helping hands to make that happen. Volunteers are making a big difference in Whitefield. As one school board member put it, they're turning a test into a testimony.
When vandals hit Whitefield Schools, spraying graffiti and setting fires, it shocked everyone, including the kids that go to school there.
"I couldn't believe that they could do that. It was so sad," said student Hannah Coplen.
The vandals left behind more than $300,000 in damage and a spray painted message saying: "Clean it up now."
There is still work to be done, but an army of volunteers is making headway on cleanup.
"You look for the bright silver lining in all of this and that is one of them," said Superintendent Brenda Edwards.
The school held a workday on Saturday, thinking a few dozen people would show up.
"I think there was 175 of us here. So, there was a lot of us," said student Hannah Coplen.
Former and current students, teachers, local church members and boy scouts all came to work.
"New coat of paint. I got my red doors like I wanted, and we're ready to move forward, to get started," said 5th grade teacher Scott Shepherd.
Classrooms have a fresh coat of paint; the gym floor looks like new, even the playground equipment got a makeover.
"I wanted to get it ready for school and get it ready for basketball. And, just clean it up," said student Hallei Lockwood.
Volunteers cleaned up and painted and mowed, and reinforced the sense of community they say makes the school so special.
"It does touch my heart and it makes me feel like we're validated here, that people know that this school is important and we do a good service for their children," said Superintendent Brenda Edwards.
"Something very good came out of this and we're going to come back bigger and stronger," said 5th grade teacher Scott Shepherd.
Three kids are charged with the vandalism. Whitefield's School Superintendent says plans are in the works for another work day. Anyone interested in volunteering can contact the school by calling 918-967-8572.